Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My Highlights Of 2013

Greetings All!

A slightly different kind of post today. I don't have any New Years nails for you (I have to go to work in the morning, so I haven't bothered), but I've seen quite a few posts where people look back over the last year, and I thought that might be fun. For me, anyway!

This time last year, I didn't even have a blog. Tomorrow is my first blogiversary, and I think it's the first New Years Resolution I've ever kept! I wasn't sure if I would keep it up, or whether I'd get bored after a few weeks. I wasn't even sure if nail art was going to be a fad for me! However one year on, and I'm even more obsessed than I was a year ago, which I guess is a good thing. I still get a lot of joy from polish!

Untrieds have been a big theme for me in 2013. I just buy so much polish, I don't have enough time or fingers to wear them all! When I first started to get obsessed with polish and nail art, I would buy it willy-nilly. I have gotten better (for the most part), and I've even been known to not buy a polish because I have similar shades (not the same, similar). However, if you put me in front of a sale or some bargains, I will still go a little crazy from time to time.

Because I keep polishes in my Helmers, my untrieds are sitting out visible until they have been tried, and this is why they've been a bit of a cloud over my head this year. They're constantly there, looking at me, sad because they don't get used, and taking up valuable room! Fortunately I worked really hard in December, and I finished swatching all my mainstream polishes! I'm hoping that next year this will free me to polish what I like, rather than feeling obligated to try something new.

As wonderful and beautiful mainstream polishes are, for me 2013 has very much been the year of the indie polish. This time last year I didn't own any, and I remember thinking people were a bit ridiculous for getting so obsessed over the things, and that they were all nail hipsters! I've built up a nice little collection since then, including several 'lemmings', and I can confirm that yes, they are very addictive, beautiful, and necessary!

Dwarfing my indie collection is my UK indie collection, which is something I've definitely become a major fanatic over! I remember in April when Tara launched her first collection, and since then the scene  has exploded into something that easily rivals their international counterparts. You can get all the fancy finishes - thermals, holos, multichromes, as well as all those charming glitter toppers and sandwiches that I can never resist. I'm constantly amazed by their creativity and the polishes that they are able to produce! Plus they have this wonderful little community of polish makers and fans, who were kind/daft enough to vote me UK Indie Polish Blogger Of The Year 2013 a couple of weeks ago. This my chance to again thank everyone who voted, and to pledge my intentions to live up to the title! I'm predicting that next year UK indie polish is going to get even bigger, and I hope to be there, bringing you swatches of them and convincing you that you need them!

The UK indie polish community is a really lovely group of women, but I was a little bit surprised to learn that everyone in the nail polish community is lovely! OK, that sounds a bit...odd, but I honestly wasn't expecting everyone in the nail polish/ blogging community to be SO nice, kind, supportive, patient and generous, even when I was a total newbie and had no idea what I was doing! Everyone is happy to help each other, and there is very little evidence of cliques or bitchiness (I don't want to offend anyone, but speaking as a woman, sometimes we can be bitches! I am most of the time). I was expecting a small percentage to be a little snobby, or trolly, but I haven't located them yet! They're a wonderful group of people, and I feel very fortunate to be a part of them!

So those were my highlights/main points that I've taken away from blogging in 2013. I really hope I can write another post like this at the end of 2014! I wanted to end with a brief list of some of my favourite things from this year.

  • Shaped glitter - some love it, some hate it. I absolutely love it! It's the child in me that squeals with delight at the thought of having stars and moons on my nails. If they take some extra topcoat...worth it! Fingers crossed the shapes get even more exciting in 2014 (I'm still hoping for bat glitter!).
  • Gelous - my favourite basecoat, discovered this year. I started my 5th bottle just before Christmas - I really go through the stuff! I love it for work because it makes me nails feel super strong after 2 coats. It's also great as a thick topcoat over shaped glitter.
  • Thermal polish - what an idea! Polish that can produce a gradient on your nails all by itself?! Genius. I only have a few, but I'm keeping my eyes peeled for the next must have!
  • My XL Squishy Stamper - my best stamping discovery of the year, more so than any plate or polish. It's definitely taken my stamping up a level, and I never want to go back to the old style stampers!
  • Glitter-in-a-white-base polishes - I LOVE glitter in a white/pale base, especially if it's matte glitter. There's just something so...clean, and pure about it.

There are many other things I've loved in the last year, but I have to end it soon or this will end up being a VERY long post. It probably would have been easier if I listed the things I didn't like this year!

If you stayed with me through all that text, thank you, and well done! I hope you all have a lovely New Year, and I'll be back in 2014!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Prepare To Get Sick Of The Sight Of This...

Greetings All!

I'm making an effort to get back into blogging regularly. I wasn't away for long, but it was surprisingly easy to get out of the habit!

While I took a break, I was still busy with polish. I've now swatched all my mainstream polishes - no more untrieds!!!  I still have untried indies, but they don't really count (I need something new and pretty waiting to be worn, or I'll just buy more! The pile does help me whittle down my shopping baskets though). I did just realise I have a few Color Club sets looking at me from the corner - oops! Still, it feels good to not have a big tray of polish sitting there.

I've also been practicing my next 'technique I want to master', the vertical gradient. I first tried them here for the 33DC (on some rather talonesque nails that I am still missing dearly!), and what I've basically done here is an exact recreation! I desperately want these to look like they do in my head, and red and black just seem to be the best colours to use!

It's an improvement - still not perfect, but better than last time! I should really try some other colours though...

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Mariah Pure 18K White Gold & Silver Topcoat

Greetings All!

Yesterday I showed you my best Christmas present, OPI MWTGG. I was also fortunate enough to receive this white gold version!

This is 2 coats of Pure over OPI Keeping Suzi At Bay (I keep choosing OPI to wear with them!).

This one has a lot more leaf in it than MWTGG, and you could easily get away with one coat. It does give a really lovely effect, although I prefer the gold version slightly. How lucky am I that I have both?!

Friday, 27 December 2013

My Boxing Day Nails

Greetings All!

These were the nails I wore yesterday, using my favourite Christmas present, OPI Man With The Golden Gun. I actually briefly owned this last year when I bought a job lot of OPI polishes, but unbelievably, I didn't think I needed it!! I was very wrong, and I regretted my decision, so I asked for it for Christmas this year (I also got the Mariah Carey white gold/silver version!).

Here it is in spectacular golden glory, over OPI Here Today...Aragon Tomorrow.

I'm so annoyed at myself for selling this on over a year ago! I didn't know how much I loved gold polish back then - it came as a surprise to me! I'll have to get a lot of use out of this one now, to make up for it.

My Christmas Day Nails

Greetings All!

Remember me? Ha it's been ages! I hope you've all had a pleasant festive period! I haven't really felt much like blogging (or polishing!) lately (and once you see the state of my nails, you'll get a clue why!), but I though I would share my Christmas nails with you. If I'm being honest, I'm quite glad all the xmas nails are disappearing! I don't mind Wintry themed nails, but I get bored of Christmas nails very easily.

In that theme, these are probably more 'Winter' than Christmas themed, but that kind of proves my point!

As a little Christmas present to myself, I made a blue holo using Revlon Royal and some Spectraflair. I've been hankering after a bright blue holo, and although it's got a bit lost under everything else, it rocks. Trust me. I added Pocket Money Polishes White Christmas and Angels for the white glitter, and stamped with BM323 and Color Club Angel Kiss.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Nail Lacquer UK - Cheeky Elf and Nightmare Moon

Greetings All!

I said I might post a few Christmas polishes. I'm dipping my toe in with one of the nicest, and I bought it way back in October! This is three coats of Cheeky Elf.

Isn't it fantastic? Such a luscious, rich green jelly base, plenty of holo glitter, and gorgeous big circles! Plus it isn't really that 'Christmassy' a polish, so I can wear this easily all year round. AJ has really mastered the syrupy, sticky looking jelly polish perfectly - I have three or four of her jellies, and they always look good enough to eat (I Heart Pumpkins is another good example!).

Another good example (I literally just remembered!) is Nightmare Moon, which I actually bought at the same time as Cheeky Elf!. 3 coats again.

More circles, and more delicious looking jelly! She also does pastel crellies really well, but love love love those jellies!

You can buy Nail Lacquer UK polish here.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Playing Catch Up

Greetings All!

Sorry I've not been around for...wow, a whole week. I haven't really had the motivation to do anything lately, including blogging and even painting my nails! However this weekend I had an epic swatchfest, I must have swatched 50 or 60 polishes. My untried collection is the smallest it's been all year, and that's spurred me on to at least catch up with my 33DC manicures, which have been sitting ready on my computer (I did complete the challenge on time, I just didn't post about it!).

Day 31 involved using my three favourite polishes. I don't really have favourite polishes, or at least I don't want to be forced to choose! I tried to pick my top 10 a couple of weeks ago, but a top 100 would have been hard. I have a lot of love for my polishes! Eventually I settled on three polishes that I...favour more than some others, I suppose.

They are; W7 Black (no duh. I recently opened a third bottle!), Beauty UK Jelly Bean (which I bought because it claimed to be matte. It's pretty glossy, but I really love the colour of it), and Butter London Frilly Knickers (my best sparkle!). No untrieds used here, obviously.

Day 32 had the rather broad term of Shapes. I thought about using some shaped glitter (my weakness), but in the end I went for some boring circles!

I regret using the grey. I was going to use just blue and pink, but I convinced myself I should throw another untried in, and I was wrong! Polishes used were Sally Hansen Salon Manicure in Sgt. Preppy, Blue Rose and Pumice. I also went with a matte finish, which can often 'save' a manicure I don't love. I'm still kicking myself though.

The final challenge was freestyle, or recreate someone else's manicure. I wore these nails a couple of weeks ago (you'll tell by the length!), and I was so in love with them that I wanted to give them their own post and sound really smug about them. Then faced with the task of trawling through hundreds of gorgeous nails to find one to recreate, I decided to use them here instead!

This manicure has been in my head for...a long time. Pretty much since I saw my first gradient nails, I think. I don't really know what else to say about them, just that I've been waiting a long time to do these!

So this is a kind of...vertical gradient. It hasn't gone perfectly, but I'm still very happy with it! I usually imagined this in black and red (sometimes black with yellow, green or purple), and I don't really know how to describe it. Red nails that fade into black, I guess. It's a little bit similar a duochrome effect. I also tried it with some stamping, because why not?

So this is officially the next technique I want to nail. I though it would be the same as doing a horizontal gradient, but it's tricky! I guess because of the curve of the nail. Still, if I can get it to look like it does in my head, then my life would be complete!

I set myself another little challenge within this challenge - to use 30 untried polishes. I actually used 62, so pretty good going. I reckon that if I knuckle down I can get them all tried by the end of the year, and then I would be free to polish whatever I liked!

As for the blog, I'm not quitting, don't worry! I might take it easy for December, and maybe just post a few Christmas swatches. I'll definitely get back on track in January though, for my one year blogiversary!

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Pinky Punky Bubblegum Princess

Greetings All!

It's the weekend! I woke up stupidly early for a Saturday, got to doing some tidying...and broke my other thumbnail. My thumbs are really having a bad week! I'm putting a brave face on, but I'm not happy. Not happy at all!

Thankfully I have plenty of nails in the vault. I've been really enjoying my new MoYou plates lately - they have fun images, good sizes, and I've even been trying to get to grips with the 'one large image' plates. For this manicure I used an image from Princess plate 13.

The pink is Revlon Bubblegum, a scented polish that smells of...watermelon, I think. Definitely not bubblegum! It's a pleasant enough scent though, and a pretty polish. I stamped with W7 Black, which is unusual for me. My Konad is on it's last legs, so I decided to try stamping with a rather gloopy, nearly empty W7. It isn't as good as Konad, but it should tide me over until I get around to replacing my beloved Konad Black.

Friday, 29 November 2013

The Crumpet's Nail Tarts 33DC Day 30 - Same Pattern, Different Colours

Greetings All!

We made it to the end of what feels like a very long week! Today I get to debut my new shorter nails - I'm still gutted that I had to file them down. It has given me a chance to file out a couple of knocks and chips, and it does mean I can use some of my smaller stamps, but what can I say - I miss my long nails! OK, they're not even that short, I'm just being childish!

At least without my thumb I was able to execute my original idea for today's prompt, as I could only really manage it with four colours.

I think these are really cute - rosy patchwork quilt nails! The reason it only works with four is I didn't have another colour/matching stamping polish combo, except maybe orange and red, which I didn't really want to do.

Only one untried used here - Sally Hansen Palm Treat (bottle pictured). Fragrance Direct got some new shades in (or new as in, I didn't have them!), so I got a big box of nail mail from them last week, so now I'll probably be getting all SH obsessed again. Watch out world! My other base polishes are OPI Pink Friday, and Barry M Blueberry and Prickly Pear. I stamped with Revlon Vinatge, Sally Hansen Fairy Teal and Thinking Of Blue, and Barry M Plum. The image is from Pueen 22.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Tri Polish Challenge November 2013 - Manicure 4

Greetings All!

Happy Thanksgiving to those who are celebrating. We don't have that here in the UK, but I am hoping to see some cute turkey nails!

This is my last TPC manicure for November. I completed my own little challenge-within-a-challenge by using all three polishes for all four manicures, and no other polishes. Here's a reminder of those polishes!

Sally Hansen Dorian Grey, Good To Grape and Thinking Of Blue.

I've saved my personal favourite until last. I really liked the look of the cling film nails I did last week with the grey and purple, so I decided to revisit that look.

I really like the marble effect with these colours! I do like cling film nails - they're a fast and easy way to get a really cool effect.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Crumpet's Nail Tarts 33DC Day 29 - Your Favourite Pattern

Greetings All!

We're halfway through the week! Yesterday I hit 50.000 page views, a big milestone for me. Thank you to everyone who contributed! I know that big picture-wise, it isn't really all that much, but to me that's a huge number, and quite difficult to comprehend! I hope you've all seen something you liked, and it wasn't just a waste of your time haha.

On to today's prompt, which was actually very easy for me. If I had to have only one pattern on my nails forever, it would be this one!

This beautiful image is from DRK-B, and it has featured on the blog numerous times, and on my nails even more than that! It's absolutely perfect - a lovely leafy, swirly design, very forgiving of my placement skills (unlike, for example, a more geometric design or something small that has to be perfect!), and the image size is massive so I don't have to get it lined up perfectly on my long nails! Put together it's a very quick and easy image to stamp, but looks great every time.

My favourite combination is black and gold, but today my base is OPI Funky Dunkey, and untried, but a very recent addition. I've been eyeing up this shade for a few months, so it only took a couple of days before this gorgeous purple hopped onto my nails! I'm also very shocked by the (relative!) colour accuracy shown here, as my camera is notoriously bad with purple. I stamped with Revlon Vintage, which apart from the Barry M Foils is my best non-stamping polish to stamp with. It's a gorgeous colour, and stamps really well, and it's also a great one coat polish! So, lots of things I like in this manicure!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

UK Indies - Iconic Effect All That Holos

Greetings All!

This evening I have yet another lovely sold out polish (I'm mean, I know!), this time from Iconic Effect. Their polishes always seem to sell out so quickly! All That Holos is a brain-frazzling mix of all shapes of holo glitter. This is 2 coats over black.

SO much colour and sparkle, it's amazing! I did spend quite a while staring at my nails, and tilting them round for that stunning rainbow effect. There's so much going on, but there's a simplicity to it at the same time that I find strangely soothing!

You can buy Iconic Effect polishes (when they're in stock!) here.